What to do if you have dry eyes

Did you know that if your eyes are too watery, they may be too dry? Sounds crazy!

“The reason your eyes become watery is because the surface of the eye is rough,” says Dr. Errin Bligh, an optometrist at FYidoctors in New Westminster. “This sends a message to the brain that there’s something in your eye, and the body’s response is to flush it out.”

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As a result, red, watery eyes are actually a sign of that your eyes need moisturizing!

“Unfortunately, the tears your body produces in this circumstance aren’t the same tears you need to moisturize your eyes,” explains Dr. Bligh. “These kinds of tears are a different quality.”

Dry eyes are one of the most common ailments Dr. Bligh sees at FYidoctors, treating multiple cases per day. Common symptoms include a burning or gritty sensation, similar to the feeling of sunscreen or sand in your eyes.

There are three different key components to our tears, meaning any one or combination of the three could be faulty. The Doctor of Optometry performs a special tear evaluation to determine the cause.

Dry eyes manifest themselves at different times for different people. Some patients are more susceptible during allergy season, while others only exhibit symptoms after using a computer for extended periods. Others can also suffer from constant dry eyes that may become worse at certain times of the day.

“Once we diagnose the cause of dry eyes, there are many options for treatment, but it’s very important to have that eye health evaluation first,” says Dr. Bligh.

Treatment ranges from over-the-counter or prescription eye drops, to moisturizing eye masks, to eyelid wipes, to nutritional supplements such as omega 3-rich fish oil.

While over-the-counter drops may increase the quantity of tears, using a drop prescribed specifically for your condition will increase the quantity and quality of the tears produced. 

“If treated early enough, it could be a matter of using just a couple of drops per day,” says Dr. Bligh. “As with anything, the sooner you come in, the better.”

To learn more about managing dry eyes, contact the Doctors of Optometry at FYidoctors at 604-522-6929, by email or by visiting their website

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